Blog

Cycling Nutrition Plan: Foods to Fuel your Rides (2019)

cycling nutrition plan header image

Looking to start a new cycling nutrition plan that provides you with enough energy for long-distance rides whilst still keeping you in shape? 

We’ve got all the food suggestions you need! 

Not only that, but we’ve put together a great deal of cycling nutrition tips to help you along your way to balancing out the perfect plan. 

There’s nothing that we’ve missed out, and you’ll truly find everything you need to know right here in this guide to cycling nutrition. 

Interested in a career in fitness? Take a look at our Level 4 Course in Sports Nutrition first! 

Cycling Nutrition Tips  

#1 - Stay hydrated

hydration graphic

Want to keep your performance on top form? The first step to making this happen is to stay hydrated. It may sound simple, but dehydration is one of the main culprits when it comes to dwindling performance in cycling. 

The reason for this is that water is responsible for maintaining a healthy body temperature as well as transporting nutrients to different areas of the body. Getting enough water during your ride, especially if it’s long-duration, is paramount. 

Fed up of relying on water bottles? Check out these SIS hydration tablets for something a little different.  

#2 - Stick to Healthy Fats 

When it comes to cycling nutrition tips, many people overlook the importance of consuming fat. This is because fat holds negative connotations for those new to nutrition, which in turn causes them to overlook its benefits. 

The fats that you want to go for are those that are unsaturated. Foods that contain healthy fats include:

  • Eggs 
  • Legumes
  • Cheese (in moderation) 
  • Nuts 
  • Avocados 
  • Eggs 
  • Oils (extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil)
  • Dark chocolate (in moderation)

Don’t let the high-fat content in these foods put you off! As long as you have one portion of each at a time and stick to your calorie goals, they’ll provide you with energy and even assist you in losing excess body fat. 

#3 - Focus on Carbohydrates 

cycling nutrition healthy foods

Carbs are important for cyclists, especially those who partake in long-duration rides. However, similar to how we’ve just discussed the misconception about healthy fats, a cyclist should focus on upping their healthy carb intake (rather than binging on refined carbs). 

Foods classed as healthy carbohydrates include:

  • Legumes 
  • Whole grains 
  • Seeds
  • Fruit 
  • Nuts
  • Vegetables (non-starchy) 

Having a healthy and slow-release carbohydrate before a long-distance ride can make all the difference, and provide you with a nice spike in energy further down the line. The ‘slow-release’ is the element to take note of, as this ensures that your energy levels won’t crash during the cycle. 

Also, they won’t have a negative effect on your health when consumed on a daily basis, and also won’t show on your waistline like refined and sugary carbs do. 

#4 - Monitor your Calorie Intake 

Whether you’re into cycling for fitness or just because you happen to enjoy it, you should still take our cycling nutrition tips for calorie intake and keep it at a healthy level.

You’ll probably be glad to know that when you take up cycling, you can actually increase your calorie intake. 

This should be done alongside roughly calculating your macronutrients and micronutrients to ensure that they’re all at the levels that they should be at and that you’re not taking in excessive amounts of any and storing unnecessary fat. 

calculating calories

However, when done right, the increase in healthy calories will give you more energy and enable you to take things further on your rides! 

If you want to gain a rough estimate for how many calories you should be consuming per day, check out this calorie calculator. If you want to be more specific, which we’d definitely recommend, then check out our tips below. 

  • Find out how many miles you travel, and multiply the number by around 35-50 calories
  • Try consuming this amount on top of your basal calorific needs, on the days that you ride on - this includes snacks or natural energy drinks consumed during the ride (which we’ll talk more about later)

A good idea is to take what you got from the calorie calculator along with the amount you got with the sum and experiment with both. 

 

Enquire about our Nutrition Course

Looking to kick-start your career in nutrition? Enquire today!

You may find that the higher end is too many for you, or that the lower end doesn’t provide you with enough energy, and that’s fine! It’s all about trial and error. 

You should definitely add some additional calories onto your base amount, depending on how many miles you travel. Remember: these should be healthy calories! 

#5 - Remember your Vitamins and Minerals 

supplements graphic

When you’re making a start on good cycling nutrition (especially if you’re new to good nutrition in general), it’s easy to get lost in the macronutrients (healthy carbs, fats and protein) and overlook your micros. 

The best ways to get enough micronutrients is to each natural foods, to rotate your diet as often as you can and to even go as far as calculating them. 

We’ll give you some food suggestions in our cycling nutrition guide, but for now, you should know that following the NHS nutrition guidelines of eating at least 5 portions of fruit and veg per day will help you to achieve your micros, as well as the recommended daily amount of fibre. 

#6 - Practice Makes Perfect

At the end of the day, one of the best cycling nutrition tips to keep in mind is that you probably won’t get it right on your first attempt. That’s fine! 

The same nutrition plan doesn’t work for everyone, and most require some adjustment over a time period to get a number of things right and optimised for the individual.

For example, you may up your calorie intake but not notice much of a spike in energy. This may mean that you should eat smaller but more regular meals, to ensure that your energy levels are always high (particularly before a run). 

hitting your targets graphic

Or, you may eat too many carbs for energy and not enough protein in recovery, and find that your muscles are too fatigued to complete your next ride at your best. This only requires a small adjustment, as do many possible outcomes when starting your cycling nutrition plan.

It could even be that you consume all of your calories off the bike when you should substitute them for an energy bar or gel mid-ride to help you along. 

Don’t give up at the first hurdle, and keep trying until you get it right!  

Cycling Nutrition Plan Suggestions: Planning What to Eat 

While it’s not the same for everyone depending on their individual calorie intake and how often they prefer to eat, we can certainly give a cycling nutrition plan guideline for you to follow that is particularly tailored towards those who exercise regularly and need to keep their energy levels high. 

For the sake of keeping things quite holistic, we’ve gone with the ‘eat small but often’ approach, as it does seem to work the best in our experience and most cyclings find it advantageous for their performance.

Breakfast 

It’s the most important meal of the day for everyone, even those who don’t exercise. However, when it comes to cyclists, it’s definitely a must and should never be missed.

You should definitely opt for a slow-release energy source at breakfast, as it means that you won’t expend the energy you receive from the meal right away and it will catch up with you when you’re out on a ride!

Porridge 

Don’t scroll too soon; we know it can sound a little boring, but there are truly endless opportunities to make porridge taste great. Some of our favourite combinations are:

  • Dark chocolate and strawberry porridge (1 piece of dark chocolate, a handful of chopped strawberries) 
  • Banana and honey porridge (1 whole banana and a teaspoon of honey)
  • Porridge and protein powder (1 serving of your favourite flavour!)

Not only can it taste great, but porridge has various benefits for your diet and health that include stifling your appetite, controlling blood sugar levels, lowering cholesterol, being high in fibre, containing antioxidants and being incredibly nutritious. 

porridge for cycling nutrition plan

Porridge releases its complex carbohydrates slowly also, which allows your energy levels to remain high throughout the morning and early afternoon. This makes it great for a pre-cycle breakfast!

Wholemeal Toast 

Yet another great option for a healthy carb breakfast is wholemeal toast. It has similar slow-release energy capabilities to porridge depending on what it is paired with, so we’ll list some health options below:

  • Eggs on toast (2 eggs on toast, scrambled or poached, add avocado for more energy/1 of your 5 a day!)
  • Peanut/almond butter and banana on toast (1 serving of peanut/almond butter and 1 banana, great for a big energy boost)
  • Berry and chia jam on toast (20g of chia seeds, 150g berries, 4 tbsp water blended together - the seeds are a good source of protein and this recipe helps you to avoid the added sugar in jam!) 

Cereal 

There are a few options for this one. You can go for fortified breakfast cereals, which have undergone a process of having vitamins and minerals added to them, or you can opt for a muesli or granola-based meal. 

Some of our favourite options are:

  • Muesli, yoghurt and berries (1 serving of natural Greek yoghurt, red berries and 1 serving of muesli - maybe even a drizzle of natural honey!)
  • Granola breakfast bowl (1 serving of granola, 1 banana, 1 cup of strawberries, 20g chia seeds and 1 serving of natural Greek yoghurt) 

Time of Day to Eat Breakfast 

The optimal time of day for you to eat your breakfast depends on a few factors. 

Firstly, if you’re setting off for a ride that morning then you should consume breakfast around 20-30 minutes before doing so. 

alarm going off early graphic

Since the breakfast meal suggestions in our cycling nutrition guide are all pretty light options, this should be enough time for them to sit well on your stomach. It should also provide a good window for the energy to be released, just in time for your ride! 

If you’re only riding in the evening but you’re getting up to go to work/go about your day, you should have breakfast around 7 am. Any earlier could leave you feeling peckish too soon, and any later could have a domino effect on the rest of your meals. 

If you’re too full at lunch you’ll also eat that at a later time, and then dinner at a later time along with any snacks in between. This could be detrimental to your energy levels as you won’t be getting a spike in energy when you need it. 

Also, it can reduce any weight loss you hope to achieve alongside your riding routine as eating later in the evening can have a negative affect. 

Portion Sizing 

Portion sizing is something you definitely want to get right when it comes to cycling nutrition. Not only to regulate your energy levels and weight but also to keep you satisfied/avoid overfilling yourself. 

The truth is that there is no energy requirement that will keep everyone satisfied, and that portion sizing is a bespoke thing/something that you should experiment with. 

If you’ll be riding straight after breakfast, you should go for a small to moderate portion size as this will keep you energized as well as sitting nicely on your stomach (you don’t want to feel queasy on your ride). 

This also leaves the option for you to eat some snacks as you go along, which will fit seamlessly into your calorie allowance thanks to you having a smaller breakfast. 

On the other hand, if you’re only riding later on in the day or in the evening and you’re not having a snack before lunch, you may want to fill up on a bigger breakfast to see you through. This is where things like granola breakfast bowls come in! 

cycling nutrition portions

Porridge

1 serving of porridge oats 

1 cup of strawberries (chopped)

1 piece of dark chocolate 

Calories: 290 (approx) 

Toast

2 pieces of wholemeal toast

2 eggs (poached or scrambled) 

1 half of an avocado 

Calories: 410 (approx)

Granola breakfast bowl 

1 serving of granola 

1 whole banana 

1 cup of strawberries/blueberries

1 serving of natural greek yoghurt 

20g chia seeds

Calories: 670 (approx) 

Cost

When shopping for your cycling nutrition plan, you’ll probably want to know how much its costing you. 

To give you an idea of what you can expect to spend on breakfast week in and week out, we’ve compared prices at each of the most popular supermarkets here in the UK. 

Porridge 

Asda: £0.75

Morrisons: £0.75

Tesco: £1.10

Sainsburys: £1.10

Waitrose: £1.39

Strawberries (227-250g)

Asda: £1.49

Morrisons: £2.00

Tesco: £0.96

Sainsburys: £1.10

Waitrose: £3

Dark chocolate

Asda: £0.30

Morrisons: £0.30

Tesco: £0.80

Sainsburys: £0.50

Waitrose: £0.60

Toast

Wholemeal Loaf

Asda: £0.55

Morrisons: £0.55

Tesco: £0.99

Sainsburys: £1.10

Waitrose: £1.50

Eggs (12 large) 

Asda: £1.75

Morrisons: £1.70

Tesco: £1.89

Sainsburys: £2.15

Waitrose: £3.24

Avocado (2-pack)

Asda: £1.50

Morrisons: £1.80

Tesco: £1.75

Sainsburys: £1.85

Waitrose: £3.80

breakfast portion for cycling nutrition plan

Granola Breakfast Bowls

Granola (500g)

Asda: £1.69

Morrisons: £2.30

Tesco: £2.50

Sainsburys: £1.50

Waitrose: £3.75

Banana (5-pack)

Asda: £0.90

Morrisons: £1.00

Tesco: £1.00

Sainsburys: £0.84

Waitrose: £1.00

Blueberries (125g)

Asda: £1.39

Morrisons: £2.00

Tesco: £0.97

Sainsburys: £2.50 (150g) 

Waitrose: £2.50

Yoghurt 

Asda: £0.90

Morrisons: £0.80

Tesco: £0.90

Sainsburys: £0.90

Waitrose: £1.89

Chia Seeds

Asda: £1.28 (150g)

Morrisons: £1.90 (200g)

Tesco: £1.25 (135g)

Sainsburys: £1.50 (150g)

Waitrose: £4.99 (375g)

Mid-Morning Snack

This is important to keep you fuelled throughout the day, whether you’re off on a ride around this time or you’re at work and trying to stick to your calorie goals for the day (we’ve all slipped up before and had a packet of crisps we shouldn’t have…) 

It also depends on what you have for breakfast. If you have eggs on toast for example, you can go with something similar to our other breakfast suggestions.

 A yoghurt and granola fruit pot would do nicely, or perhaps even a fruit or veg snack pot. 

Many cyclists live for boiled egg snack pots if they didn’t eat eggs at breakfast, which consists of two boiled eggs and some spinach (and even some avocado if you didn’t have it earlier). 

Portion Sizing for Snacks

protein bar for cycling nutrition plan

Snacks should only really be consumed in one serving, especially seeing as though they’re only there to keep you satisfied and give you a boost in energy! Check packages for serving sizes, and keep to these as much as you can. 

Cost

shopping for cycling nutrition foods

To give you an idea of the cost of these snacks, we’ve rounded up some of the ingredients you would use to make them. They of course tie in with the other meals you’ll have, e.g. you won’t need to buy two packs of 12 eggs per week, but we’ll include them nevertheless!

Eggs

Asda: £1.75

Morrisons: £1.70

Tesco: £1.89

Sainsburys: £2.15

Waitrose: £3.24

Spinach 

Asda: £0.85p (300g)

Morrisons: £1.50 (300g) 

Tesco: £1.60 (200g) 

Sainsburys: £1.45 (260g)

Waitrose: £1.00 (260g) 

Yoghurt 

Asda: £0.90

Morrisons: £0.80

Tesco: £0.90

Sainsburys: £0.90

Waitrose: £1.89

bbc good food yoghurt

Credit: BBC Good Food

Frozen Fruit 

Asda: £1.65 (350g)

Morrisons: £2.00 (350g) 

Tesco: £2.00 (350g) 

Sainsburys: £2.00 (350g) 

Waitrose: £2.15 (350g) 

Honey 

Asda: £1.24 (425g)

Morrisons: £1.25 (454g)

Tesco: £1.35 (454g)

Sainsburys: £1.00 (340g)

Waitrose: £2.19 (454g)

Granola 

Asda: £1.69

Morrisons: £2.30

Tesco: £2.50

Sainsburys: £1.50

Waitrose: £3.75

Lunch

This is surely something everyone looks forward to after breakfast, and definitely a meal that you want to feel satisfied after. 

It doesn’t have to be overly complicated and is probably best kept simple if you’re taking it into work with you, but it should provide you with a good source of healthy carbohydrates (especially if you’re looking up endurance cycling nutrition).

Foods you want to include for the carb section of your meal are:

  • Sweet potato
  • Quinoa
  • Beans 
  • Legumes
  • Wholemeal pasta
  • Wholemeal rice 

Your lunch should also fill you up on protein for effective muscle recovery and growth, especially if you’re cycling on most days. Healthy protein sources include:

  • Chicken 
  • Beefsteak 
  • Sardines 
  • Salmon
  • Peanut butter
  • Cottage cheese
  • Flaxseed
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Lentils

chicken rice and veg graphic

Add a healthy fat or vegetable on the side, and you’re ready to go! We love a good chicken pasta with plenty of veg, or vegetable curry with wholemeal rice on our long-distance cycling nutrition plan. It’s easy to meal prep things like this on a weekend and take your meals with you to work throughout the week! 

Time of Day to Eat Lunch 

Timing when to eat lunch can be frustrating, especially when you’re eating a breakfast that doesn’t fill you up. If you follow our tips for breakfast when following a cycling nutrition plan, then you should stay pretty satisfied until 1pm easy! No more pulling out the sandwiches at 11...

If you ride in the morning then you should have a mid-morning snack before lunch or during your ride, which will help to curb your hunger and keep you stocked up on energy. If not then you probably went with a larger breakfast or a smaller breakfast with a light snack, which also works well. 

With these tips in mind, you should consume your lunch around 1-2 pm to see the best results, and if you’re riding before lunch make sure that it replenishes your energy sufficiently! 

Portion Sizing 

This is yet another thing that depends on when you ride during the day, and how long for. You don’t want to underestimate your lunch portions, but you also want to avoid overdoing them!

If you ride in the morning or earlier than lunch, then your lunch should serve to refuel you, and you should probably make it bigger than your dinner/evening meal. Your calories and carb intake should be higher. 

However, if you ride after you’re home from work/after lunch but before your dinner, you should make your lunch a moderate size in comparison to your last meal of the day.

NOTE: if you decide to eat snacks during the day within your calorie goals, your main meal portions should obviously be smaller.

Cost 

opening purse to get money for food shopping

While this is something that’s pretty hard to sum up in one section, we’re going to take a look at the ingredients for 2 different meals and how much they would cost. Hopefully, this gives you some insight on how much you can expect to spend on lunches in a cycling nutrition plan!

Chicken, Rice and Veg

Chicken breast (1kg)

Asda: £5.19

Morrisons: £5.72

Tesco: £5.50

Sainsburys: £5.30

Waitrose: £9.80

Wholemeal rice

Asda: £0.94

Morrisons: £1.85

Tesco: £1.50

Sainsburys: £1.50

Waitrose: £3.05

Vegetables (1kg frozen)

Asda: £0.99

Morrisons: £1.14

Tesco: £1.10

Sainsburys: £1.30

Waitrose: £1.05 (750g)

Vegetable Stew 

Looking for something hearty yet energising to tuck into on your lunch break? This stew is perfect for nutrition for cycling, whether you’re veggie or not. 

You can check out the recipe on BBC Good Food, or tot up the cost of the ingredients below. The great thing about this one is that you can substitute anything you don’t like with something that you do, as there aren’t many rules for stews!

We’ve swapped out aubergines and courgettes for Mediterranean veg to make things cheaper, and chosen sweet potato over baking potatoes because we think they taste better. 

Mediterranean Vegetables 

Asda: £1.55 (500g frozen)

Morrisons: £1.50 (400g chilled)

Tesco: £2.00 (700g frozen)

Sainsburys: £1.50 (500g) 

Waitrose: £1.33 (400g chilled) 

Garlic 

Asda: £0.50 (3pck)

Morrisons: £0.60 (2pck)

Tesco: £0.90 (3pck)

Sainsburys: £1.00 (4pck)

Waitrose: £0.89 (3pck)

veggie stew bbc good food

Credit: BBC Good Food

Sweet Potatoes

Asda: £1.20 (1kg)

Morrisons: £1.00 (1kg)

Tesco: £0.99 (1kg)

Sainsburys: £1.50 (1.2kg)

Waitrose: £2.25 (700g)

Onions 

Asda: £0.65 (500g)

Morrisons: £0.65 (1kg)

Tesco: £0.45 (1kg)

Sainsburys: £0.85 (1kg)

Waitrose: £1.00 (1kg)

Coriander seeds

Asda: £1.65 

Morrisons: £0.90 

Tesco: £1.00

Sainsburys: £1.00

Waitrose: £1.85

Chopped tomatoes 

Asda: £1.39 (4x400g)

Morrisons: £1.20 (4x400g)

Tesco: £1.39 (4x400g)

Sainsburys: £1.35 (4x400g)

Waitrose: £1.50 (4x400g)

Chickpeas 

Asda: £0.33 (400g)

Morrisons: £0.33 (400g)

Tesco: £0.55 (400g)

Sainsburys: £0.55 (400g)

Waitrose: £0.59 (400g) 

(240g drained) 

Celery 

Asda: £0.50 

Morrisons: £0.55

Tesco: £0.50

Sainsburys: £0.65

Waitrose: £0.70

Coriander bunch 

Asda: £0.50 (25p)

Morrisons: £1.00 (100g)

Tesco: £0.70 (30g)

Sainsburys: £0.75 (30g)

Waitrose: £0.85 (28g) 

With one of each of these meal suggestions you’ll yield at least 4-6 portions of food, which will see you through your lunches for the week. Hopefully this gives you a good idea of how much it costs to eat healthily whilst staying energised on a budget! 

Mid-Afternoon Snack

snacks for cycling nutrition plan

If you feel satisfied enough after the food you’ve had up to this point then don’t force yourself to have this one, and certainly, don’t have it if it makes you go over your calorie/nutrient goals some days (depending on the foods you’ve chosen before it). 

Like we always say with a cycling nutrition plan, it’s all trial and error! You may find that you need two snacks per day, or you may only need one depending on how you perform during your rides after trialling a new plan. 

If you didn’t have a mid-morning snack, then you can select something a little bigger than what we’re about to suggest. 

However, if you did have one then it may be better to stick with a piece of fruit (one that you haven’t had already on that day), or a pack of unsalted nuts. We love:

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts 

Another tempting but low-calorie snack is apple slices with a dollop of peanut butter. Don’t knock it until you try it! 

Cost 

We’ve listed some costs of how much snacks like nuts and energy bars may cost you on a weekly basis, just to give you an idea! 

It’s a good idea to keep track of this when budgeting, especially if you’re on a long ride and you consume two snacks whilst on the go. The price can add up, as can the calorie count, so substituting a bar for a handful of nuts can sometimes be a great idea all-round. 

Almonds 

Asda: £2.25 (250g)

Morrisons: £3.30 (250g) 

Tesco: £2.50 (200g) 

Sainsburys: £2.30 (200g) 

Waitrose: £2.29 (115g) 

Cashews

Asda: £2.40 (270g) 

Morrisons: £3.00 (260g) 

Tesco: £2.75 (250g) 

Sainsburys: £3.40 (200g)

Waitrose: £2.20 (150g) 

TREK Energy Bars on Amazon

Price: £14.48

Pistachios 

Asda: £2.75 (225g) 

Morrisons: £2.50 (200g) 

Tesco: £3.10 (250g)

Sainsburys: £3.60 (270g) 

Waitrose: £3.00 (125g)

Walnuts  

Asda: £2.95 (270g) 

Morrisons: £2.67 (200g) 

Tesco: £2.50 (200g) 

Sainsburys: £2.40 (200g) 

Waitrose: £2.85 (150g) 

Energy Bars  

Asda: £2.50 (3x55g TREK bars)

Morrisons: £2.00 (3x55g TREK bars) 

Tesco: £2.50 (3x55g TREK bars) 

Sainsburys: £2.50 (3x55g TREK bars) 

Waitrose: £2.55 (3x55g TREK bars) 

Evening Meal 

If you’re waiting until after you’ve been out on your ride, then your evening meal doesn’t need to have too many carbs (and certainly not if you’ve loaded up on them earlier in the day). 

It’s a good idea to finish off the cycling session itself with a carbohydrate source, such as a carb-based bar or energy gel, as you’re then recovering your energy stores.

After this, for your dinner should have a regular portion of a healthy carbohydrate if anything, and ensure that it’s mixed with a protein source that you haven’t already had that day. 

See our lunch section for the food suggestions themselves, and take inspiration from there! 

An example would be sweet potato and chicken curry, or a sweet potato and lentil curry for a vegetarian option. You can add in vegetables to ensure you reach your 5-a-day too! 

salmon and sweet potato mash meal for cycling nutrition plan

Have a go at playing around with meal ideas and how many calories they would bring you to each day, as well as micro and macronutrients. 

Sketch out a cycling nutrition plan made up of foods that you enjoy and that allow you to reach your individual nutrition goals, and you can’t go far wrong! If you don’t feel energised enough on your ride, or you feel the opposite, switch things around. 

Time of Day to Eat Evening Meal 

Your last meal of the day is the one that you don’t want to leave too late. If you do, it can have negative effects on weight loss and interfere with your sleep. 

Heading out for a ride as soon as you get home from work? You can refuel by having your evening meal straight after this exercise, but it’s probably best if you try not to eat after 7-7:30pm, as a longer overnight fast can actually aid digestion and weight loss. 

Giving your body some extra time to digest your food helps it to enter a state of ketosis, and feed on your body fat for energy rather than the food you’ve eaten. It also allows you to sleep deeper and swerve feeling groggy in the morning! 

Portion Sizing 

Presuming that you’ve had a bigger breakfast, lunch or snacks in between to make up your recommended calorie goals, your evening meal should be around 400-500 calories and focus on a good balance of protein, carbs and healthy fats. This is good to remember when it comes to nutrition for cycling! 

We’ve suggested two recipes below, but feel free to have a play around with some different ideas! 

NOTE: if you go for snacks during the day or during your rides, your main meal portions should be kept smaller. However, if you’re not big on snacking then be sure to make up your calories in your main meals. 

Cost 

price tag graphic

Salmon, Broccoli and Sweet Potato Mash 

We’ve been inspired by this beautiful recipe from BBC Good Food, who we’ve already cited once in this article (we really like their healthy recipes if you haven’t noticed already!). 

It’s a good mix of healthy carbs, protein and just general goodness to keep you full and satisfied after a long ride. It’s completely eligible for meal prep too. 

Low-Salt Soy Sauce 

Asda: £1.39 (150ml)

Morrisons: £1.40 (150ml)

Tesco: £1.00 (150ml)

Sainsburys: £0.65 (150ml)

Waitrose: £0.93 (150ml)

Ginger 

Asda: £0.45 (125g)

Morrisons: £0.62 (83g)

Tesco: £0.99 (125g)

Sainsburys: £0.85 (100g) 

Waitrose: £0.80 (100g) 

Garlic 

Asda: £0.50 (3pck)

Morrisons: £0.60 (2pck)

Tesco: £0.90 (3pck)

Sainsburys: £1.00 (4pck)

Waitrose: £0.89 (3pck)

Honey

Asda: £1.24 (425g)

Morrisons: £1.25 (454g)

Tesco: £1.35 (454g)

Sainsburys: £1.00 (340g)

Waitrose: £2.19 (454g)

Sweet potatoes 

Asda: £1.20 (1kg)

Morrisons: £1.00 (1kg)

Tesco: £0.99 (1kg)

Sainsburys: £1.50 (1.2kg)

Waitrose: £2.25 (700g)

Lime 

Asda: £0.25

Morrisons: £0.80 (2pck)

Tesco: £0.30

Sainsburys: £0.30

Waitrose: £0.39

bbc good food salmon

Credit: BBC Good Food

Salmon Fillets 

Asda: £3.19 (4 frozen fillets) 

Morrisons: £3.30 (4 frozen fillets)

Tesco: £3.70 (4 frozen fillets) 

Sainsburys: £4.25 (4 frozen fillets) 

Waitrose: £3.99 (4 frozen fillets) 

Broccoli

Asda: £0.65 (360g)

Morrisons: £0.70 (350g) 

Tesco: £0.65 (350g)

Sainsburys: £0.65 (335g) 

Waitrose: £1.79 

Sesame Seeds

Asda: £1,28 (150g)

Morrisons: £0.85 (100g) 

Tesco: £0.90 (100g) 

Sainsburys: £0.90 (100g) 

Waitrose: £0.99 (100g) 

Red Chillies

Asda: £0.45 (60g)

Morrisons: £0.50 (50g) 

Tesco: £0.60 (60g) 

Sainsburys: £0.65 (60g) 

Waitrose: £0.67 (50g) 

Vegetarian Chilli (With Wholemeal Rice) 

We’ve taken inspiration from another BBC Good Food recipe, but with brown rice rather than wedges (although you can have sweet potato wedges if you wish, as long as they fall into your nutrient and calorie goals). 

Brown Rice

Asda: £0.94 (1kg)

Morrisons: £1.85 (1kg)

Tesco: £1.50 (1kg)

Sainsburys: £1.20 (1kg)

Waitrose: £3.05 (1kg)

Onions 

Asda: £0.65 (500g)

Morrisons: £0.65 (1kg)

Tesco: £0.45 (1kg)

Sainsburys: £0.85 (1kg)

Waitrose: £1.00 (1kg)

Peppers (3pck)

Asda: £0.99

Morrisons: £1.25

Tesco: £1.29

Sainsburys: £1.10

Waitrose: £1.50

Cajun Spice

Asda: £0.84 (58g)

Morrisons: £0.85 (48g) 

Tesco: £0.90 (45g)  

Sainsburys: £1.00 (50g) 

Waitrose: £2.99 (65g) 

bbc good food veggie chilli

Credit: BBC Good Food 

Mixed Pulses

Asda: £0.65 (400g) 

Morrisons: £0.60 (300g) 

Tesco: £0.65 (400g)  

Sainsburys: £0.65 (400g) 

Waitrose: £0.69 (400g) 

Chopped Tomatoes 

Asda: £1.39 (4x400g)

Morrisons: £1.20 (4x400g)

Tesco: £1.39 (4x400g)

Sainsburys: £1.35 (4x400g)

Waitrose: £1.50 (4x400g)

Vegetable Stock Cubes 

Asda: £0.39

Morrisons: £0.80 

Tesco: £0.50 

Sainsburys: £0.50

Waitrose: £2.00

Dark Chocolate

Asda: £0.30

Morrisons: £0.30

Tesco: £0.80

Sainsburys: £0.50

Waitrose: £0.60

Reduced-Fat Sour Cream 

Asda: £1.15 (300ml)

Morrisons: £1.35 (400g)

Tesco: £1.20 (400g)

Sainsburys: £1.25 (300ml) 

Waitrose: £1.15 (300ml) 

Cycling Nutrition Tips for Your Ride 

How much you consume for your cycling nutrition during your ride will depend on your recommended calorie intake and how long your ride is.

You may find that one snack will sustain you, or that you don’t actually need anything but water if you’ve eaten enough during the day. It may even depend on what time of day you decide to go for a ride!

Short Rides 

short cycle graphic

Are your rides only around 1-1½ hours long? If this is the case, then you shouldn’t need to worry about supplementing this exercise as you should have more than enough carbs to get you through it. This is an important thing to remember when it comes to nutrition for cycling.  

Shorter rides are also quite intense and less about endurance, so you shouldn’t even have time to stop and fuel! Save the endurance cycling nutrition for longer rides. 

Our cycling nutrition advice for those heading out on short rides or just getting into cycling is to stick to water for now, and to just focus on eating well during the day (see above section for our cycling nutrition plan). 

Medium Rides 

medium cycle graphic

This is where things start to get a little more difficult and physically demanding on your body. 

Are you working your way up to rides that last for around 2-3 hours? If so, then you may find that you’re getting pretty fatigued and finding it hard to push through the last stretch of the journey. 

This is where cycling nutrition while riding comes in! 

We suggest trying out some energy bars for cycling before anything else, as they are usually a blend of healthy carbohydrates and protein and low in calories and saturated fat. 

If the intensity is pretty high on your route and you find yourself struggling, check out some energy gels to increase your energy further. 

You can also replace your water with an electrolyte sports drink for another boost! 

After implementing this cycling nutrition whilst riding, you can definitely have a moderately-sized evening meal that contains plenty of protein alongside a healthy amount of carbs and unsaturated fat.

Long Rides 

long cycle graphic

Your need for energy will soar off the charts as soon as you switch to riding for 3-6 hours, and focus on nutrition for long-distance cycling. This kind of cycling isn’t built for everyone, but if it’s something you’re interested in then we’ve got the best cycling nutrition advice for you!

Firstly on your long-distance cycling nutrition plan, you’ll definitely want to have an electrolyte drink alongside your usual water store, and maybe even a carbohydrate drink for cycling

This will give you the security of knowing you definitely have enough energy sources for your ride, as if you take any less than the maximum you could need (that still sits within your calorie range), you could burn out before the end! 

While energy bars and gels will definitely provide you with any extra energy that you need, you should really take something a little more with you on a ride of this length. After all, your nutrition for long-distance cycling should be taken very seriously! 

Try a sandwich or some homemade bars if you can stomach them during your ride; it is for endurance, after all, so shouldn’t be high-intensity for any long length of time. Have these foods first, and use the gels for the last leg of your long-distance ride. They will give you the boost you need to finish things off and are a more instant energy source than other foods when it comes to nutrition for endurance cycling. 

It goes without saying that you should follow our nutrition tips for cyclists and have a mighty meal after an enormous ride. Don’t go overboard if you don’t feel like you can, but ensure that you eat enough to replenish lost energy stores. 

Working Out Calories During a Ride 

calculating calories during ride

It’s not as complicated a task as it may seem to get your cycling nutrition during your ride right.  

You can even use the fitness app MyFitnessPal for help with this if you’re stuck, by inputting the amount of exercise you’re likely to complete and your gender, height and however much you weigh, etc. 

However, if you’re not a fan of technical stuff then it’s not hard to make an estimation for yourself. 

If you know your hourly energy expenditure during a ride, then you should make your calories around 20-30% of this. 

If you have no idea what we’re talking about, then another option is to go with 30-60g of healthy carbohydrates per hour to keep you fuelled. 

Before you go!

Hopefully, now you’ve got a good grasp on cycling nutrition and you’re ready to give it a go!

Noticed something we missed out of our cycling nutrition plan? Reach out on Twitter or Facebook to let us know. 

Want to become a Personal Trainer? Check out our Courses in Personal Training, nutrition or download our latest prospectus.

Alternatively, give our team a call on 0800 002 9599 and we’ll happily talk you through our incredible range of courses! 

 

Enquire about our Nutrition Course

Looking to kick-start your career in nutrition? Enquire today!

Written by Chloe Twist

Qualified Personal Trainer & Blogger

Chloe is a qualified Personal Trainer with a passion for blogging, gaming, and playing the guitar. When she's not in the gym, she can be found in her room either swinging kettlebells or binging on Netflix.